Sunday, October 08, 2017

I Got Inked

Getting a tattoo was on my wishlist for a long time. Yes, from my childhood. I was unable to get it done due to many reasons. In a way, I am happy that I did not get a tattoo those days as I was not aware of the body arts, tattoo tradition and cultural roots of this process. I would have got a snake, flame or a barbwire. With this blog post, I would like to document my experience and the meaning of my tattoo. This post if for me to remind myself about getting my first tattoo and read about it when I am old (provided that I am alive). Also, I hope there will be some useful information for those who wish to get their first tattoo. 
  • Learn about tattoos 
Before I start searching for a tattoo artist, I studied about the process, history of it, various cultures those who practice this as a tradition and as an art. From the various types or tattoos, my favorite was Maori and Polynesian Tribal designs. They looked powerful and were suitable to put my story in to a design. The next thing I considered was not to offend any culture, religion or country. The last thing I want is to get deported from a country because I have a symbol in my tattoo that offend them. 
  • Think. No, don't just think, think hard 
I thought all the aspects of myself living with a body art for the rest of my life. Family, profession, etc. This helped me to determine the place and the size of the tattoo. It also helped me to formulate the story I want to embed in to my tattoo which I am going to carry for years to come. 
  • Story / Meaning / Purpose

This is a unique element in any tattoo that express something more than a beautiful art. Meaning of this tattoo is for me to give a spark of motivation and remind myself of my roots, uniqueness, energy and never ending warrior spirit to fight the challenges on my face. The two half Tiki faces represent that I have both soft and tough characteristics, which also denote my roots. Protect my love ones until my last breath. Learn to let go when the time is set. Start the life with level zero on an utter lost and still rise to my expected level of success. Not to live a life for other's expectations. Lastly, the lotus is to denote nirvana. I don't know about my previous life nor my next life. The only life I know is this. I want to live it to my fullest and do not expect a next life. 
  • The tattooing process

We started the first session on 31st August 2017. I did not want to rush. It was a 5 hour session. Aligned the design and draw the first bits. Second session was in a week after the first one and completed all the lining. Third session was after two weeks of lining where I kept the lines to heal and start to do the filling. I am not a fan of lots of fills as I want to keep the lines visible with details. And another idea is, I can improve the tattoo at a later time. Both second and third session were lasting for about eight hours (with breaks of course). 

  • The healing process
Most of the people (Specially in Sri Lanka) do not pay attention to the healing process. They leave the tattoo studio and do not follow the after care instructions. Well, I thought, this is going to be on my body and become a part of my skin. So, I have to take care of this well. I washed the tattoo three times per day in the first few days and applied an after care product called Recovery's Tattoo Salve. I used Vaseline in the first two sessions and my experience is not good. It gave me a burning feeling and the tattoo also looked popped out. So I bought the Tattoo Salve and found it was really smooth and helped the recovery process smooth. Peeling and flaking took about 3 weeks to finish. My skin was bit tough and the needles did not went through at the first time, so my tattoo artist had put some pressure on at certain places. And some areas actually have to re-touch as the ink has not got in to the skin. It's a result of having a tough skin (Which is a good thing). I also experience it difficult to push injection needles too. Healing stage is very important and if you let the tattoo heal properly, it will come out bright and avoid any infections too. Check out some pics from the healing days 4 and 5. 
 



People Asked Me these Common Questions:

Does it hurt? 
"Of course it does"













    How much did it cost? 
    "I can't tell you that in public. What I can tell you is, good tattoos aren't cheap and cheap tattoos aren't good".

    Did you family members liked it?
    "Yes, in fact, my wife and sister-in-law also got tattoos in the same month. Well... Parents were not happy".


    Was the equipment sanitized?
    "Yes. The tattoo artist (Mudhitha) were highly considered about the health factor of the client and himself. People get more diseases by going to dentist than getting a tattoo. I need to say, as the client, you have to be clean and fresh before you sit for the session. Otherwise, you are giving a hard time to the tattoo artist with your body order. And no alcohol or smoking please".

    Will you loose the status quo? 
    "Well, status is subjected to change like everything else in this world. Who cares?"

    Now that you have a tattoo, does that mean you are a hotshot than before?
    "Absolutely, certainly you got that point right. I am very proud of my tattoo".

    Finally, all I have to say is, getting myself inked was not just to have some tribal design on my sleeve. It has a purpose. And my advise for all who wish to get a fresh tattoo is;
     "Think before you ink". 


    Wednesday, June 14, 2017

    Expecting the Unexpected

    Hopes, expectations, goals and targets are some of the key factors that keeps us motivated to do what we do and overcome the daily challenges in life. On the other hand, the above factors are key contributors to increase a person's stress level and push in to depression. Sometimes hopes, expectations, goals or targets are fragile and we do not have much control over them. And we will experience failures along the way. Loosing hope, not meeting expectations, missing a goal or a target can easily lead a person to a high stress and finally become depressed. This situation can be observed in careers, relationships, education and in the life in general.

    What if we can have hope, expectations and all above mentioned without being stressed or depressed? In my experience, we tend to build lot of stress around the things we care the most. We do not think something bad can happen to our family, career or other expectations that we have set high values in life. We do not expect our love ones to die, to loose the jobs, to fail an exam, etc. But in real life, these things can happen at a time that you never expect them to happen. So if we expected these things to happen rather than avoiding the reality we can control the level of stress and keep calm while working the way out of those situations. It also gives the right energy we want to operate in a critical situation.

    For an example, when we drive on the road, instead of not expecting, we should expect that some one will jump to the road or some vehicle will drive carelessly and hit on ours. So you are constantly focused and ready to take the best effort to avoid a clash than a person who drives without expecting it. People have plan A, B, C to Z because they expect the unexpected and want to be prepared. We can enjoy the life to the fullest capacity with all the hopes and expectations while being ready to expect the unexpected. That way, at each failure, we have the strength and mindset to collect our life together and move forward without worrying on what we lost. Just a small thought yet have a powerful positive impact on life. 

    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    Catching up Blogging

    After being silent from blogging for almost two years since last post, it's very difficulty to write something now. Lot's of ideas are there but all try to come out at once and can't focus on anything. This is what happen when I lose the consistency on posting. This is an era where video taking over the content leadership and text getting a back seat on the Internet. And I'm loosing my writing skills as well. In such situation, I'm writing this post as a warming up post.

    During the past couple of years, my life also took few turns. After obtaining the MBA, took a new role in a software company to head the business operations. And then there was a new addition to our family. Birth of Dwayne, my second son on 13th January 2017. Life got more excited and busier then. Responsibilities on both work and family kept me fully occupied. I'm going to stop this post soon because, there is no value addition to the time spent on reading this. But, I wanted to break the ice.

    Career wise, I was fortunate to start as a IT Technical person and moved to the IT marketing and business operations domains as the technical background gave me a good foundation to bridge the gap between technology and customer need and help the product teams to align the software they develop to meet the business requirements.

    And I thought of taking risks/challenges in my life time to time. That keeps me moving and kick me out of my comfort zones and help me to excel. It can be career, it can be personal life, what ever I feel like need to tweak or change. Sometimes, I get closer to my inner thoughts of life as a whole in a philosophical way. It helped me to understand the importance of being happy about yourself, staying closer to your loved ones, staying healthy and young in heart while keeping a tie with the Buddhism to learn to let go at the right time.

    Like I said in the beginning, this is an ice breaking post. I'm sorry I could not add any value to your time if you red this thus far.

    Cheers!


    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Customer Focused Technology Innovation - A Simple Yet Powerful Thought

    If we go thousands of years back and look at how trading began, you'll notice that it was about fulfilling a need of some one. Before money was introduced to the world, people used to trade an item for an item. Most trades did not have the similar values but fulfilled the need of each person. For an example; A person in need of a piece of cloth - might exchange some honey with the other person to obtain a piece of cloth. I think buying and selling started by one person accepting something useless for him at that moment but kept it for future trade. That's just a thought.

    When Information Communication Technology (ICT) was introduced for business, it was considered as a "Business Support Service". Whenever a finance crisis hits an organization, ICT was in the cost cutting side of the budget. This is no longer valid in the world of integrated enterprise. Today, ICT is not a business support service, it runs the business. Every business today, whether small, medium or large are thinking beyond their geographic boundaries and also think in innovating, growth and being competitive. Organizations need business intelligence; data-to-information to make real time decisions which helps their strategy and its execution in a continuously successful flow. Big data analysis is essential in any business today. Knowing your customer well is not well enough to survive in the competition, you got to do more.

    Technology is innovating in its own way is not helping the business to sustain and make use of technology in large scale. That is one reason for many businesses to stick with their trusted legacy systems. For an example; a technology company may have a great platform integrated very well, inter-operate well, highly optimized and beats the competitive platform in speed, etc. But, what if they do not solve the business problems effectively? What if the company do not have the empathy for the customer? They might be having a world class technology platform, but they will start loosing customers in the long run. Technology companies should cater for the best interest for their customers. Technology companies should innovate around the customer and serve better by making their platform a unique experience to the customer and make them winners.

    Mr. Chris Kariyawasam, Key Account Manger Nestle Lanka PLC and an MBA lecturer in marketing strategy told "Everything begins and ends with the customer". That's where I first heard the phrase, but it carved in to my thoughts and changed my thinking pattern from technology oriented marketer to customer oriented marketer. Most of the technology companies are marketing their product to beat the competition. But they are missing the focus on customer. They keep innovating around the technology but a high percentage of customers are with a competitor who has both the technology and customer centric product or service. Companies such as Facebook, Google, SAP are technology innovators with a great empathy on customer. They build great platforms that makes the end user's life easy. Once you make the customer successful, your success will follow with that. 

    Final thought to carry is, customer is the essence of all we do as a company. Technology is not something that keeps updating and systems are not just software upgrades you do in regular basis. They are part of the business ecosystem that helps the customer to do what they do better. Make the customer a winner and help them to become successful in what they do and your success will follow with that.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Entution: A Journey based ERP on Cloud

    ERP is a very scary term for many corporates. For some organizations, it is a huge expense and a sunk cost. As per the Panorama Consultants 60% of ERP implementations are challenged projects. The main reason for this is the complexity of the entire ERP domain.
    Bileeta is an ERP development company which has more than 15 years of experience in ERP development and its business models. They provide a tire II ERP solution for businesses who are in the sales and distributions, projects & services and finance verticals. They list the following as the complexity formulating factors for ERP implementations.










    Software products are not visible until you use them. ERP no difference. No matter how many pre sales meetings you have the end user is not getting the actual picture of what they are getting. Demos help to clear the picture a bit, but still the end result is not clear.










    Lack of visibility then leads to a situation where you are unable to map your business requirements with the system you are getting.









    This results a system that has loads of functionality you may or may not use. This makes the system bulky and difficult to use.














    An ERP system is heavily used by the operational staff of an organization. The new system is challenging the current status quo of the staff. This makes the staff resistance to use and making the organizational change management process a challenging one.

     







    This user resistance in turns results a huge amount of customizations to the product and long running training and consulting program to get them to adopt the new system in day to day work. This results exceeded project time. Time is money, so it increases the implementation cost too.

    Bileeta came up with a brand new concept called "Journeys" to reduce this complexity which in turns will reduce the time and budget that need to spend ERP implementation. 



     "Journey" is basically a combination of functionalities across the modules to cater a business process. In traditional ERPs, you need to get bunch of modules to get a single functionality to work. The end user knows their business process well, but they do not know the "Modules". Journeys are these exact functionalities they want. 


    This concept helps an organization to start using the necessary functionalities of a system to start with and add more journeys as they grow. This gives the flexibility for the organization to slowly adopt the entire ERP system without going through the hassle of a complicated change management process within the organization to adopt the ERP solution.  



    Since this is a cloud based solution, all the journeys are available in a journey pool and can be imported to the existing system without any disturbance to the ongoing processes. 

    All these are bundled in to the new product named "Entution" The product it self is designed in a easy to buy, configure (3 steps configuration) and use. Also it is offered in public cloud for general users, public cloud for industry specific users and public/private cloud for large organizations.

    Entution has won the Gold award in the NBQSA 2014 under the category of e-logistic and supply chain management. It also won the overall Gold award for the year 2014. This has proven its disruptiveness in the domain and stability of the product. 


    Check out this video to get a quick feel of Entution.

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    Note: Images used in this post are copyrighted to Bileeta (Pvt) Ltd.


    References

    Panorama Consulting. 2014. 2014 ERP Report. [ONLINE] Available at: http://panorama-consulting.com/resource-center/2014-erp-report/. [Accessed 21 October 14].

    Wednesday, January 01, 2014

    The Concept of "Connected Marketing" in Short


    The world is never going to be a simple place. People's requirements are complex. Not only human beings, even animal's requirements are more complex than before. Marketing also have passed several iterations of changes but the core of marketing has not being changed. I liked one of the quotes a lecturer in my MBA mentioned which is, "Marketing is common sense, common sense that is not so common". It is indeed understanding people, needs, community and trying to cater the best product or service. Also, to sustain the connection you had with the individual or community by keeping them nurturing. Another angle would be to understand human psychology and influence on it to create awareness and help them to success their goals. There are tools to help marketing products or services, but if you think clearly, it's really the common sense that help to achieve the actual results.

    Today we are connected with the world in many ways. That itself brings a big challenge to marketing our product/service/brand/etc as the competitors also have the same amount of resources to connect with the customer. Connecting with a customer for lifetime would be the ultimate success of the business in the long run.

    It's obvious that now days we use Internet to connect with the rest of the world more than other conventional method such as snail mails, postcards, telegrams, etc. A Computer is now a house appliance and Internet is the connecting medium. Well, with all the information we've shared, many entities know almost all the details of individuals to a greater extent. Eg: Pizza hut maintains a detail level records of what you ordered, when, delivered locations, etc.

    In business we use connecting technologies to connect with Customers, Partners and world around us. We use TV, CD/DVDs, cell phones, fax, web, virtual reality displays, etc to communicate about the product or service. Not like in past, organizations now segment the market and connecting with selective customer base to talk about their product/service.

    Connecting for a Lifetime

    In today's marketing, companies being more selective about which customers they should serve. Companies dig deeper to customer needs and trying to build a long lasting relationship. Not like in mass marketing, this effort is to ensure that the selected customer will retain for a longer period, by managing the lifetime value of a customer. When a business do better in keeping old customers happy makes the competitors very difficult to find new customers. As the loyalty of the customers increases credibility of the business also increases. Hence, businesses now days trying to grow the "share of customer" instead of "share of market". They try to find needs of existing customers and provide products or services to satisfy those needs. If you look at Amazon (http://amazon.com), they started as online bookseller and now sells many other things to keep their customers engaged.

    Connecting with Stakeholders

    Stakeholders includes people are from inside and outside of the company (Staff, partners, board, customers, community, etc). In default scenario, marketing folks helps to bridge the consumer and a particular product team/department to coordinate the need and supply chain. Also in some organizations almost everyone is playing a marketing role to some extend. Eg: Software companies like WSO2 Inc have people who plays cross roles. Engineering team helps a lot in Marketing where they attend in Webinars, writing blog posts about products, etc which are not directly related to Engineering. So it's all connected, Marketing, sales, manufacturing, engineering and list can go on.

    Strategic alliances have become a need in most of the companies. For example, most of the big companies are at least have a single partner. Strategic partnerships are playing some sort of an role in any type of business in a given time. A business to grow successfully the connection with stakeholders have to be strong and long lasting. Poor communication with stakeholders also a huge indirect cost to an organization.

    Even though we think we know all the fancy theories of marketing we fail most of the time because we have not focused on the "common sense". Understanding how world is changing and filling the need gap is going to be one of the big challenges for Marketeers. No matter how good your marketing/corporate plan is, if you don't have the common sense and do not have the understanding of connected marketing, the probability of failure is very high. Marketing is not just sending bunch of mails to a set of email addresses in a database, street promotions, advertising or fancy conferences. It includes a challenging task of understanding human needs and connecting with them for lifetime (B2B or B2C).

    This post is just to scratch the surface of the whole Connected Marketing concept. This does not cover the methods on how to successfully market your product/service. As one of the basic principles in marketing, if you understand that "Everything in marketing starts and ends with the customer", you can go a long way as a successful connected business.

    Happy year 2014!


    Thursday, September 05, 2013

    Transform your Organization into a Connected Business - Learn by attending WSO2Con USA 2013

    Is your organization a connected business? The following points will give you an idea of a "connected business" environment. 
    • Integrated - Does your organization has a smooth and effective interactions within and with outside world?
    • Accessible - Does it facilitate the interactions by reducing conflicts and cost?
    • Collaborative - Does it support collaborations within and outside world to enhance productivity of the business?
    • Adaptive - Does it sense the ever changing business needs, technology and automatically adapts them to your environment?
    If your answer is "Yes" to all the above, you're already in the connected business environment.

    WSO2 always being in the business of enabling all those factors for almost 8 years. WSO2's biggest technology conference, WSO2Con is going to focus on how to make your organization a connected business by overcoming current technological barriers at hand.

    The Conference includes a set of Pre-conferance tutorials, which will conducted by our own experts who actually wrote the code in many of the products. Attending the tutorials will give you a detail level understanding of how WSO2 Platform really does the trick of making your business a connected business. Also, the conference will help you to get to know more about the all new WSO2 Mobile Platform too.

    The two day conference is where the Architects and CxO level people will find more insights on how can an organization become lean and agile, how to transform your current organization in to connected business, clear out any doubts they had before about this transformation, get to know how big organizations such as Stubhub, Boeing, Spectrum Health, Trimble, T-Systems (and many other) benefited by joining hands with WSO2.

    The conference is held from October 29 - 31 2013 at Mission Bay Conference Center, San Fransisco.

    If you really need to transform your business in to a "Connected Business" and enjoy the benefit of the lean and agile enterprise environment, Register Now!. (There is a 25% discount till September 10th)